Publication Date: 
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Attorneys General of the 50 states have considerable legal authority to protect the public’s health, yet their role in the development of health policy is often under-appreciated or misunderstood. This article analyses state Attorneys’ General current powers and provides a logic model that illustrates how the use of these powers can lead to the protection and promotion of the public’s health. The article then provides four brief case studies, to demonstrate how state Attorneys General have used their varied powers to influence policy-making and benefit the public’s health. In addition, this article offers a roadmap for research that could be conducted to better understand the association between state Attorneys’ General actions and the protection of the public’s health. The article concludes with suggestions for future research in this area, along with a series of recommendations intended to enhance state Attorneys’ General ability to protect the public’s health.

Teret and Rutkow published a commentary about this topic in the Journal of the American Medical Association (September 22, 2010)

They have also published in the Saint Louis University Public Law Review: Rutkow, L. & Teret, S.P. (2011). The potential for state attorneys general to promote the public’s health: Theory, evidence, and practice. Saint Louis University Public Law Review30(2): 267-300.